2018, Affordable Care Act, American Health Care Act — March 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm

The House is on the verge of voting to uninsure 24 million Americans — here’s what you can do about it


Tax breaks for the rich paid for with ‘unspeakable misery for millions of American families’

Despite a report from the Congressional Budget Office that projects that the American Health Care Act will leave 24 million Americans uninsured while driving up costs for almost everyone who purchases insurance on their own, House Republicans have scheduled a vote on the bill for next Thursday.

The GOP proposal has already successfully cleared three of the four committee hurdles it needs to overcome before hitting the floor, which means it’s already progressed further than the Clinton reforms of the 1990s ever did.

GOPCare or RyanCare or RichCare or TrumpCare could be on the president’s desk in about a month, meaning a bill that will uninsure 24 million will have become law in about a third of the time it took Congress to pass the legislation that insured 24 million — the Affordable Care Act.

Yes, this could really happen. Only unrelenting, focused resistance can stop it.

I asked two health care experts about what they’re hearing and what you can do to make sure this horrendous, deadly bill never becomes law.

First up is Topher Spiro, Vice President for Health Care Policy at American Progress — the man who I first heard make the case that repeal was not inevitable, especially if Republicans didn’t do it when they had the chance in January.

Spiro told me:

The House vote is winnable, but it will be very close. Whip counts by news organizations suggest that we only need about 5 more votes to defeat Trumpcare right now in the House. Trump and Paul Ryan are making concessions to hard-line conservatives, moving the bill to the right to secure their votes. This means that we must lock in as many “moderate” Republicans as no votes as we can. Our top targets are Representatives MacArthur (NJ), Dent (PA), Fitzpatrick (PA), Donovan (NY), Katko (NY), King (NY), Tenney (NY), Zeldin (NY), Valadao (CA), Curbelo (FL), Amodei (NV), McClintock (CA), Denham (CA), Knight (CA), Royce (CA), Walters (CA), and Rohrabacher (CA).

Things are moving fast and this is a very fluid situation. Senators Heller and Collins just came out against the bill; House Republicans are wary of walking the plank if they think it will just die in the Senate. Just within the last 24 hours, McClintock, Curbelo, and Dent said things suggesting they’re leaning no. People on the ground in New York think those votes in particular are very gettable.

We need to lock them and others in this weekend, when they’ll be back in their districts. Show up for rallies outside their offices: check your local Indivisible team for information. Flood their phone lines. The Center for American Progress Action Fund has posted a “toolkit” where you can download data points, graphics, and sample tweets to tweet at your representative. As the vote nears, on Wednesday and Thursday there will be massive rallies in DC.

Check ResistanceNearMe.org for information.

You may have heard Andy Slavitt — who helped save Healthcare.gov and went on to run the Affordable Care Act implementation as President Obama’s pick to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — tell us that we cannot let up on fighting against for repeal, not even for a day.

On Friday, he told me that the already impressive resistance to the bill has to become even more intense in order to avoid “unspeakable misery for millions of American families:”

On the seventh anniversary of the passage of the ACA, Speaker Paul Ryan would like to repeal it in what he calls “an act of mercy.” This act creates unspeakable misery for millions of American families– stripping away their access to coverage, rationing care for Medicaid and massively increasing the cost of care, in particular for older, lower income, and rural Americans, kids, retirees, and those facing the ravages of addiction. The results are clear enough that the most likely way for a bill like this to pass is to rush it through without public input and minimizing the time to focus on the impact. Each day it goes on, more Republicans jump ship. Each time a Republican Senator or Congressperson is forced to contemplate the impact of the AHCA– the simple facts: how many Medicaid participants and exchange participants will lose coverage– the more the prospects for the AHCA dim. The pressure needs to escalate, particularly in districts with a lot to lose. It’s time to worry abut our neighbors, many of whom are too scared and preoccupied caring for sick family members whose lifeblood is access to their medication and care to do this on our own. These next few weeks– in the House, and then in the Senate– are the most critical we will have. Our last best chance. The outcome is still not determined. It’s up to us now.

Few fights in American history have so clearly pitted the interests of average Americans against those of the richest, who who are soaking up the bulk of the gains of our economy.

This law doesn’t just repeal the ACA. It ends Medicaid as we know it and robs tens of billions of dollars and years of solvency from Medicare. If Republicans get away with this, you know that they’ll come after what’s left of Medicare and Social Security next.

Find out how it hits the families in your congressional district here and do whatever you can to help stop this assault of American’s most basic values. And if you have any other ideas or resources, post them in the comments.

[Photo by the great Anne Savage.]